This time of year I always seem to find myself more contemplative than ever. It’s almost like I can’t help but evaluate my experiences of last year and come up with a fuzzy idea of a plan that is not really a plan for the new year.
I think everyone does this to one extent or another. I remember back in my less optimistic days, this time of year was only a reminder that time was running out. I would spend most of my time thinking about lost opportunities, and how terrible my year went. Yeah, I was not a ray of sunshine back then, and to be honest, my life was a reflection of my attitude.
Luckily for me, I stopped being a dumb-ass and started to appreciate this thing we call life.
My new year resolutions are not the typical “I want my butt to look better in jeans” type of resolutions (my butt looks great in jeans, btw), they have more to do with realizations I had throughout the year.
The one that is really on my mind is based on our recent trips and around 60 hours worth of conversations on said trips with Klee.
Appreciating every single individual moment that I spend being alive, and really taking advantage of the fact that I am breathing and able to make decisions that impact my life now. Essentially, not waiting around for things to happen, but just living now. Our experience last year was a solid realization that life is extremely short… So EVERY moment is precious.
Remembering that I am unique, but so is everyone else and there really isn’t such a thing as normal. Everyone is weird, but there are those who embrace it, and there are those who hide it. Embrace it always.
Well, that’s all I have so far, it’s still a work in progress and Klee and I will probably have some long conversations about feelings, goals, life, and other fun stuff. Have fun figuring out your awesome resolutions for 2019.
Oh yeah, play more guitar, write more blogs, film more videos, create more amazing art, and try to ween myself off of Snyder’s buffalo pretzel bits, those are on the list as well, so we’ll see how those go for 2019. Just kidding on the pretzel bits, I’m never gonna give those up.
That time of year is upon us where we desperately try to remember what the people who are near and dear to us would like in their stocking. In the spirit of the holidays I have compiled a list of our most popular stuff to stuff a stocking with.
These are gifts that are both affordable and meaningful from our collections of fine jewelry and fine art.
PLEASE NOTE: While people are generally overflowing with joy and uncontainable excitement, this season can also cause a bit of stress for us with increased orders and workload or winter storms that can drastically impact delivery times. It is important to us that you get your gifts.
Ok, now that’s out of the way, on to the fun:
Tiny Hammered Disk Earrings – Sterling Silver and 14k Solid Gold “Mini Gong” Earrings $59.00
Three Little Birds Wall Art by artist Rafi Perez Original Artist Enhanced Print On Wood $25.00
Green Fluorite Crystal Necklace – Solid Sterling Silver – Raw Fluorite Octahedron Crystal – Long Layering Necklace $60.00 (Was $75.00)
Four Seasons – 4 Piece – Tree Paintings on Reclaimed Wood By Artist Rafi Perez $131.75 (was $155.00)
Also! Don’t forget! Calendar Order deadline is tomorrow, December 5th. Please order yours before they are gone.
As some of you know, the last few days Klee and I have been putting some mileage on our little yellow Jeep. We scheduled a trip up north to visit my youngest kids for a couple days and watch my daughter perform in her fall play.
I’ll be honest, the idea of scheduling any kind of trip during the holiday season is not something that is easy for me because of the potential loss of income for our business while traveling. Not to mention, there is technically no one there to run the business while we are on the road. Throw in the ever looming uncertainty of being career artists and you can imagine my struggle.
But, you know, I realized something… Life is happening right now. I’m not saying that my art career is not a part of my life, because it is, it’s a great part of my life… but it is not all there is to life. My life is a complex series of moments that involve all the different facets of the ever changing human that I am.
Don’t worry, I’m not quitting my art career, that would be ridiculous. I love creating art, it is definitely a large part of who I am. I’m not sure I would even know what to do if I wasn’t creating something.
What I am saying is, I think I have to put myself in check. So not much will change except the way I see things on the inside, so don’t freak out… I’m not going anywhere.
My trip was amazing, Klee and I froze our butts off in the wintry weather, we hung out with two little amazing humans, got to teach my daughter a little something about driving, and got to see an awesome performance by my superstar… Life is good.
There are so many things to be appreciated in life. So many little things that can leave such a beautiful impact. These little things in of themselves can seem unimportant when you are thinking about your career or making money, but it is those small moments that are so powerful.
A hot chocolate in a cute cafe, on the main street, in a small town, in the mountains, that is decorated for Christmas, with my son complaining, is a memory that I will always cherish.
I guess what I am saying, is to be aware that you are not turning something that you love into a serious thing that keeps you from experiencing the things that you want to experience in life. It’s easy to say “I don’t have the time or money to do that”, and honestly sometimes you don’t, but will it be something you’ll regret not doing?
I guess I’m thinking about this because we just got back and will be leaving again tonight and going down south to a funeral. Life and death, it’s the one thing we all share, we live and we die.
I hope I’m not getting you down, that’s not my intention. I just think it’s important to stop and think about these things every once in a while.
Because life is precious… and it’s happening right now… Enjoy it now, while you can… every beautiful moment.
Yesterday morning, as I walked into the kitchen bleary eyed and searching frantically for my coffee cup, it dawned on me that someone would be pointing a camera at my face that day.
Klee was already up and getting ready, she kissed me good morning as she hurried by holding her hair up in a bun.
I pathetically waved back… yeah, I needed coffee.
It’s in those moments, before you are about to embark on something that you’ve never done before, that the little voice of doubt sets in.
We have been interviewed before, but never something like this. A mini documentary? About us?!
As I sat there drinking my coffee I wondered if I would be interesting enough, funny enough, photogenic enough, or even have the ability to string together a coherent sentence.
Klee on the other hand is brilliant at stringing together sentences and getting to the point, and let’s be honest, she is also much more photogenic.
My biggest fear is rambling on and forgetting what I was talking about in the first place. I tend to talk about a subject and go off on tangents, eventually circling around to what we were originally talking about… but sometimes, it’s like I’m standing in the kitchen with the refrigerator door open, wondering why I’m there.
As it turns out the experience was quite amazing, and all my fears melted away once we got started.
Jon Deckert from Vivid Bridge Studios came in with what seemed like an arsenal of compact, high tech, noninvasive equipment that fit our small space in the art studio quite well.
We had met with Jon Deckert and Doug Stanford a few weeks earlier for coffee and to discuss their idea of doing a mini-doc on us. So I had met him before, but only briefly.
I’m not sure what I was expecting, but Jon was awesome. Not only did he know how to wield his equipment with artistic accuracy, but he was amiable and genuine. He made the experience fun and interactive. I mean, it felt like the camera evaporated and I was just sitting there having a pleasant conversation with someone who was interested in what I had to say.
I could clearly see that he had a creative vision of what he wanted to capture, but was also flexible and adaptable to the space and our ideas. His main goal seemed to be to capture the best possible moments he could without interrupting our flow.
I am really excited to see what they come up with at Vivid Bridge Studios, in my opinion their work is creative, beautiful, artistic, and some of the best I’ve seen.
That being said, I did go off on tangents a lot while being interviewed… So they have a lot of video to edit. Luckily, I did manage to string together coherent sentences, kinda.
The mini doc is currently in post production and I’ll let you guys know as soon as that is made available.
By the way, in the old days, I think I would’ve passed up this opportunity simply because once self doubt sets in, it’s easy to talk yourself out of doing something you think is scary. I can honestly say that more often than not the voices of self doubt are wrong, and even when they might be right, it is never as scary as you imagine. So nowadays, I just go for it… and it is ALWAYS worth it.
If you are interested in finding out more about Vivid Bridge Studios, they are Pensacola’s video production & photography studio. They empower businesses, organizations or brands to promote and market their stories through video and photography. Just a really fun and super creative bunch of folks.
I seem to have always been fascinated by birds, from the pigeons in Chicago with the iridescent neck feathers, to the occasional happy bright red cardinal.
Recently someone asked me “So, why do you paint birds?”
I though about the question for a moment and said “Overwhelming fascination.”
When I was a wee little artist, my mother who was young and dangerously overprotective, didn’t let me go outside much. For years, my entire world was from a large third floor picture window that looked down on a busy street.
I spent hours a day looking out at the people going about their day, the different birds roosting and flying about, the abstract landscape over the buildings, the little bit of greenery that would emerge from fascinating places in the concrete. I also gave everyone personalities and stories, people would have daily novellas play out in front of me, and so did the birds.
But, although I felt that the humans had dramatic stories of heartbreak, turmoil, and moments of happiness, the birds symbolized something powerful.
Birds symbolized freedom and perspective. Because they fly high into the sky, I believed they were messengers who provide humans with a bridge between the mundane daily routine and powerful spiritual life.
I know, I know… I was a weird kid.
Every once in a while I would see someone at a bench feeding bits of bread to the pigeons. From my third floor window I could see a powerful dance taking place between the person throwing the bread and the birds. I could see something beautiful, a powerful connection to something greater, a brief moment of stillness among the chaos of daily life. No one else seemed to notice, they just hurriedly went about their day, barely glancing up or interacting with one another.
Years later, with no window barrier between me and the world, I was part of that chaos. I hurried importantly past people to get to work, or anywhere for that matter. I pounded my fist and certain index fingers at people who drove too slow. I was an adult, I was busy, I had things to do, I was responsible, I didn’t have enough time, and I was miserable.
One day, the overwhelm hit a fever pitch. As I was barreling down the road cursing in my mind at the lady in the car directly in front of me, my heart started to beat out of my chest. I loosened my tie and found that my forehead was soaked in sweat. It was so bad, that I pulled over.
I stepped out of my car to get some air and walked over to a bench.
As I was sitting there, wondering if I was going to die in my stupid suit, on a dirty bench, in a strange part of town, I noticed an old man walking towards me with a crinkled up paper bag.
“Great, he’s gonna ask me for money, just look away.” I thought to myself.
The man sat down, opened his bag, and started to sprinkle little bits of bread on the ground in front of us. Like a scene out of the movie “The Birds” a hoard of pigeons and other birds descended on us.
Didn’t he see that I am an important person? I was appalled at how rude this man was, surely a bird was going to shit on my suit.
Then, my heart started up again, and I breathed in deep… and just relaxed.
Suddenly, amidst the gaggle of birds was a pop of bright color. A cardinal flew on to my armrest merely inches from my hand. I found myself mesmerized and just stared at it, we stared at each other for what felt like an eternity. It then jumped down, grabbed a scrap of bread and flew away.
I’m not sure how long I was on that bench. I just sat there and time seemed to slow down. I could see the world hurrying past me, people waving their fists in their cars, and others looking at their watches every five minutes. I felt like they looked so… so… stupid.
At that point the old man looked at me, I could feel him studying me.
“Taking time to do nothing often puts everything into perspective. Remember that, young man.”
Then he got up and left.
I get visited by that cardinal every once in a while, when I get caught up in hurrying through life. I sound like a crazy person, but it’s true.
As you know, recently I was invited to create an art chair. This was a big deal for me, because there is a finesse that needs to happen when turning furniture into art. I wasn’t really sure I could pull it off.
You might think that something as common as a “chair” just needs some paint and crazy designs to stand out. Not true, just like any abstract painting it can go wrong really fast, and just like an abstract painting you have to rely on your gut feelings and not technical skill.
So I went through the typical creative process of feeling like I had an epic failing every step of the way, until it finally started to come together.
So, I created my first art chair, worked through my own insecurities, pushed through the boundaries of what I thought was possible for me, and validated my self status as an artist.
That’s about the time my dad stepped into the picture.
He stood there and stared at it for a while… didn’t say anything.
At that point, I apparently felt the need to boaster the chair up and make it important in terms my father would understand… money.
“Yeah dad, people were putting $100 in raffle tickets for it!”
He pause, scrunched up his face and then said…
“Someone paid $100 for that shit?”
Yes they did dad… yes they did.
There are so many stories like this when it comes to my father and art, luckily, it doesn’t bother me any more… in fact, I find it kind of funny.
I spent a long time blaming him for my insecurities, and as it turns out, they were my own insecurities, and I needed to get rid of them myself.
It’s still a work in progress, but I think it will always be.
Watch this video to enjoy the full story, and more stories of my dad and my art… including a big event that took place at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago… Oh boy.
Klee and I don’t watch much TV because honestly, some of those commercials are draining. Especially the drug commercials. I feel like any time we sit down to watch Supernatural, by the end of the constant stream of maladies and side effects being thrown at us, I am convinced that I’m dying… I’m not sure of what, but I’m sure I’m dying of something.
So, we decided to have a little fun with it and created our own drug commercial. This week in our old video reboot, I present you with the drug STIMULEX which doesn’t allow you the unfortunate condition of boredom. Enjoy!